Flash Fiction Challenge #12: Life of Riley

Riley’s energy was spent on the pleasure of a long-awaited day.  The day he left the only job he’d ever had.  Thirty years… thirty years since the internship in his senior year of college.  Now, he would do something for himself.  Something bold…

“Maybe we should call off tomorrow’s  birthday celebration.  You’ll proudly announce what you have done and your birthday will turn into a regular Town Meeting.  You’re having a mid-life crisis, Riley.  That’s all this is.  You could have talked to me first.  Right now I hate you.”


“I am talking to you now.  It can not be a mid-life crisis, Jule.  That would mean I’m living to 100 years.  Mid-life would be more like, 40.  And why dismiss my birthday party so readily?  I can handle a Town Meeting.  I have been in politics for thirty years and I can field any question that comes my way, and….”


“Shut up, Riley.  What am I supposed to tell the kids, my mother, huh?  That you decided to quit your job rather than buy a sports car, like every other man in mid-life crisis?  What now?  Are we moving to Tahiti to live a simple life,  or Dubai to live a self-indulgent one?  Or perhaps we’re going to Calcutta to work with the poor, picking up where Mother Teresa left off?”


“Not even close, Jule. There are plenty of nuns doing Mother Teresa’s work. They have their own Order.   My idea is much more rive gauche.  I want to get the band back together….”


Riley waited while Julie finished her laughing fit.  She poured herself a whiskey.  “Seriously?  I was hoping for the South Pacific.”


“At what point did this become about you, Jule?  This is about me.  I’m not asking you to abandon your career…”


“This is about me precisely because it is about you.  We worked hard in our younger years so we could have what we have now.  We sacrificed a lot.  And you’re going to just throw that all away on a whim.  You’ve reached the half century mark and you wonder if this is all there is.  Why don’t you find  Buddha or Tony Robbins or someone who brings you fulfillment.  You know, the way that our relationship and the kids apparently do not!   And don’t tell me I do not understand because I do.  Remember, when I turned 40?  I bought a convertible.”


“Stop making this about you, Jule. Why do women do that?  We’re partners, not members of a  hive mind.  I’m going to try to get the band together.  If that fails, then I will do something else.  The kids are adults now, on their own.  You will eventually acquiesce  because you love me. There is nothing to stop me.”


“There is ONE thing, Riley.  Your WIFE.”


“Crap, Jule.  I was having a great day until you brought up Brenda.”


Prompt:  Suffering a mid-life crisis, a man on the eve of his fiftieth birthday quits his job and goes on a  quest to “get the band back together.”




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